Mobile Web site search engine optimization strategies influencing ad quality is top of mind for most marketers implementing campaigns, especially since Google announced in September that it would consider this as a ranking factor.
Since mobile search algorithms work differently than desktop, Covario released a white paper Thursday to help marketers sort through SEO practices. The white paper walks through strategies to optimize sites.
For starters, marketers should list companies in Google Places, ensuring that content systems used to serve Web pages detect user agents, so search engine crawlers can determine Web pages for mobile vs. desktop. Serving only redirects to a mobile sub-domain when a specific subset of pages are used for rendering on mobile search. While mobile represents a small percentage of advertising budgets today, Google's decision to acquire Motorola Mobility will change that in the coming years.
About 77% of mobile device owners use their phone to conduct searches, according to Google. Mobile will account for between 3% and 5% of the overall market share in paid search in 2012 among Covario's clients, who globally spend about $400 million in annual paid-search programs globally, according to the company's Q3 2011 paid-search spend analysis.
Advertisers supported by Covario in Q3 2011 spent 26% more on search budgets sequentially, and 24% year-on-year. The uptick driven by back-to-school purchases for electronics will fuel the estimated 20% year-on-year. Fears of slowdowns in the amount marketers will spend for paid-search advertising due to economic concerns seem muted as a result of "resiliency" and the ability to measure performance.
Advertisers forecast growth between 18% and 22% in 2012 overall. North America should see an uptick between 18% and 20%; EMEA, 15% and 20%; and Asia-Pacific, more than 40%. Covario suggests marketers must factor rising cost per click (CPC) inflation into advertising budget plans. In Q3, CPCs rose between 2% and 3%, sequentially, for the fifth straight quarter.
The study points to impact from Google Instant, and increasing spend driving more competition in the market, particularly for relatively "expensive non-brand" keywords. The study also points to the Bing-Yahoo alliance optimization strategies setting new CPC thresholds slightly higher than the combined weighted average of the past costs when the engines operated separately.
In China, CPC on Baidu continue to increase due to an uptick in spend across the region. As for Facebook, 2012 investments will range between 15% and 20% of paid-search advertising budgets. Approximately 75% of Covario's customers plan to take advantage of Facebook's advertising programs. Overall growth sits at an estimated 50% to 75%, compared with 2011, earmarked for Sponsored Stories and targeted banner ads.